"Doctors diagnose illnesses and treat people who suffer from injury or disease. Their professional lives are filled with caring for people, keeping up with advances in medicine, and working as a part of a health care team. Every day in communities around the country, doctors work in neighborhood clinics, hospitals, offices, even homeless shelters and schools. Few fields offer a wider variety of opportunities.
About one-third of the nation's physicians are primary care doctors who provide lifelong medical services for the entire family. General internists, family physicians, and general pediatricians are all considered primary care doctors. They are the first doctors people consult for medical care. And they are trained to provide the wide range of services children and adults need. When patients' specific health needs require further treatment, primary care physicians send them to see a specialist physician.
Specialist physicians differ from primary care physicians in that they focus on treating a particular system or part of the body. Surgeons who treat injuries, disease and deformities by performing operative procedures, neurologists who treat disorders of the brain and spinal cord, cardiologists who treat the heart and blood vessels, and ophthalmologists who treat the eye are just a few examples of the many specialties in medicine. These physicians work together with primary care physicians to ensure that patients receive treatment for specific medical problems as well as complete and comprehensive care throughout life.
Physicians also do many other things. Physician researchers are at work today developing new treatments for cancer, genetic disorders, and infectious diseases like AIDS. Academic physicians share their skills and wisdom by teaching medical students and residents. Others work with health maintenance organizations, pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers, health insurance companies, or in corporations directing health and safety programs. People with medical skills are in demand everywhere."
- Association of American Medical Colleges
- There are 139 accredited medical schools in the United States (with 8 more in the accreditation process including Nova Southeastern in South Florida)
- A list of accredited schools can be found online.
- The programs in Florida are:
- At least a 3.0 undergraduate GPA is required, but the average for matriculants is about 3.7.
- The MCAT is required and the average score for matriculants is about 30.
- The required courses typically include:
- General biology with lab (two semesters)
- General (inorganic) chemistry with lab (two semesters)
- Organic chemistry with lab (two semesters)
- Introductory physics with lab (two semesters)
- Mathematics (two semesters)
- The mathematics requirement varies. Some programs recommend calculus and others recommend statistics.
- College English (two semesters)
- Most programs recommend at least one semester of biochemistry, although some programs (e.g., FSU and UF) require it.
- Courses in cell biology, genetics and psychology are also frequently recommended.
- Letters of evaluation (a pre-medical committee letter is expected if available from the undergraduate institution)
- Experience (some consistent exposure to the medical field over a few years prior to applying is expected, along with meaningful community service activity)
- An application submitted via the American Medical College Application Service
- The AMCAS application becomes available in May. Deadlines for submission vary from October 1 to December 15 depending upon the school.
- The MCAT should be taken by the end of September (although some programs accept scores from the January test dates).
- All medical schools also require a secondary application.
- Interviews generally start in the fall and continue until March or April.